Facket i Finland (and Sweden) …

As a (still-) member of the Union JHL I am still getting their periodical “Löntagaren”. And in the last issue I came across an article titled “Facket i Finland för frihandelsavtal”, which reported that not only the Finnish unions FFC, STTK and Akava are in favour of the TTIP but also the Swedish unions LO, TCO and Saco.

The reasons given in the first half of the article are the usual stuff of economists’ ideology (“enligt EU skulle avtalet inte bara ge de europeiska och amerikanska ekonomierna, untan hela världsekonomin, en rejäl skjuts framåt”) – well, yes, the numbers in some statistics may become somewhat bigger (HOW much bigger is of course such a question, and what that would do to people’s well-being, the environment, and the globe as a whole is mainly a question of belief …).

The article then continues by reporting that the Finnish unions “anser att förhandlingarna främjar demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter”, and that “avtalet skulle stärka de europeiska och amerikanska arbetstagarnas position i den globala konkurrensen eftersom andra länder skulle be tvungna att i högre grad följa de internationella arbetsnormer som bland annat FN-organet ILO har antagit”. Jaha? Will anybody begin to make cheap clothes in EU or USA? Will US enterprise stop keeping the general working-conditions in the USA at the present low level (or still lower if ever possible), also refrain from going to court (because of lost profits) if European unions should demand that US investors in Europe should keep the working-conditions at European levels? Well, the article (wisely?) refrains from going into details with the explanations, rather leaves it at a string of optimistic claims.

In the second half of the article there are even a few points mentioned about which the unions are not satisfied (e.g. that investeringsskydd, also the lack of transparency), and the style of the text becomes more “on the one hand – on the other hand”, but one has to read it really to the end to learn that the German IG Metall (world’s biggest union) is in fact against it, its ordförande claiming that it “sannoligt skulle medföra mer skada än nytta”, and that “[v]ädret spelar en större roll för sysselsättningen än det här frihandelsavtalet”, drawing the conclusion that the negotiations should be stopped immediately.

Okay, what the hell is going on in the heads of the Finnish and Swedish unions’ bosses? Have they listened too much to mainstream economists? Do they see a cooperation with the USA (= further integration into the West) as some type of guarantee that at least their seats will be safe for all eternity? Can anybody provide some better or further explanation? Anyway it seems that some further psychological development is URGENTLY needed.

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